I Married My Perfect Business Partner

Michael is attempting to seduce me by rubbing his nipple. Obviously, it's not working. God we're a couple of weirdos.

That sexy photo to the left is about seven years old, and represents the beginning stages of my relationship with my now-husband.

Back then, people said that we were perfect for each other. They said we balanced each other out… pushed each other’s boundaries… calmed each other’s crazy. (Side note: When Michael finally asked my parents for permission to propose, they asked him: “Are you sure!?” Yeah. Thanks a lot, Mom and Dad.)

Some things (like that E.T. T-shirt and Michael’s seduction tactics) never change. Because we’re still balancing each other out beautifully, and in more ways than before. Not only does Michael expertly handle my meltdowns, but he’s also an asset to my business.

You heard me right. Without Michael, Freelancedom wouldn’t look this pretty. And neither would my professional site. And, come to think of it, I probably would have never even attempted hosting my own e-course. (This is why you marry a front end web developer, people.)

Actually, without Michael’s support, I might still be working in book publishing.

And not only does Michael build up my sites for me, but he also acts as my sounding board, provides me with advice, talks me up to other people, and… um… at my first Word Nerd Networking event, he even helped out by blowing a whistle every three flippin’ minutes.

In return, I pushed him to take more risks in his career and helped him out with resumes, cover letters, and job interviews. This led to him leaving a job he’d had for 7.5 years for a job in an entirely new industry… in the midst of the recession. We’re like a power couple!

Now I’m not telling you to choose your romantic partners with an eye toward your business. (Or am I??) Things just worked out well for us that way. What I am saying is that you shouldn’t feel that you have to do it all by yourself. While it can be difficult to let go of certain aspects of your business, partnering up with someone who has strengths where you have weaknesses — and vice versa — can work in both your favors.

Case in point: Because of all of my disparate interests — and because I’m constantly assuming I’ll fail — I have trouble following through on things. What do I need more than anything else? ACCOUNTABILITY. Which is why, when I heard that the oh-so-fabulous Marian Schembari was coming to town, I asked her to co-host something with me. And I asked her this immediately, before I could chicken out.

And it was awesome.

Not only did Marian provide accountability, but it was also great to be able to bounce ideas off each other, split up the event planning responsibilities, and run a double-pronged marketing campaign.

In addition to pairing up with people on events and other sorts of projects, there are other ways in which you can lean on others for the greater good:

1. Be a sponsor for someone else’s event or contest, or have them do the same for you. For example, at Word Nerd Networking, several of the experts donated books or services for a raffle drawing. Not only did this give attendees the opportunity to win something cool, but it also gave prize donors some additional exposure.

2. Create an affiliate program. Or sign up with someone else’s affiliate program. For example, many career coaches sign up for affiliate programs with resume writing experts, sending business their way and receiving a cut of the profits in return. I’m interested in doing something similar because — while I know a thing or two about resume writing — it’s not my greatest strength, and I’d love to be able to refer clients to someone even awesomer. For more info on affiliate marketing, check out these great posts by Thursday Bram and Darren Rowse.

3. Find a business partner. While my husband works full-time at KickApps, he also has a web business on the side. And while he used to run the whole shebang all by his lonesome, he now has a partner in crime, plus another guy who regularly sends work his way. It’s great, because he and his partner have different strengths, allowing them to take on a wider range of projects, and — because of this other dude — they also don’t have to spend a shit-ton of time drumming up new business. How could you make a similar arrangement work for you and your business?

4. Form or join a writer’s group. Or a freelance/entrepreneur group. Or any other group you think your business could benefit from. Your partnerships don’t have to be official. Building up your professional network in a more casual, organic way can have just as many benefits.

Anything I’ve missed? How have you successfully paired up with others in the past?

Related: 6 Ways To Find Your Next Mentor


  1. I totally married tech support for similar reasons. A husband who can set up a new blog in a matter of minutes certainly comes in handy for a freelance writer! Congratulations on finding the right partner, in more ways than one.

  2. @Thursday: Ha! Love it. And I love how well having a tech-savvy husband fits into my budget, too. 😉

  3. Having someone to hold you accountable is so important! And you’re lucky to have a husband who is cool with you posting that picture!

  4. Ha! I totally asked him for permission before using that photo. He was cool with it. It just makes me giggle!

  5. I work on staff with my husband, and we work on freelance projects together. It’s literally 24/7 and I love it. It doesn’t always work, but knowing that is part of why it works.

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